Review of the Lovecraft Country Episode “Strange Case”

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Wummi Mosaku as Ruby Baptiste in the television show “Lovecraft Country”

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So, I watched the Lovecraft Country episode Strange Case last night. The title refers to the title of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, only Misha Green‘s version is far more disgusting.

The show starts where A History of Violence leaves off. Yahima (Monique Candelaria) has seemingly disappeared. Leti (Jurnee Smollett) thinks that Montrose (Michael K. Williams) has just let her go, but Atticus (Jonathan Majors) knows his Dad killed her. In a rage, Tic tries to beat Montrose to death, but Leti manages to stop him.

Montrose also destroyed the Book of Names, but Tic figures out that Leti photographed the pages. After rough sex (doesn’t this guy ever just kiss his girlfriend and treat her gently?), she develops the photos and he starts to work deciphering the code.

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Part Two of Reviewing “Lovecraft Country”

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Letitia (Jurnee Smollett), Atticus (Jonathan Majors), and George (Courtney B Vance) in a scene from the show “Lovecraft Country”

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After my review of the first episode of Lovecraft Country Sundown, I thought I’d just keep watching and maybe review the entire first season as a whole. But after viewing three more episodes, because each show is so densely packed, I was afraid of losing a lot of the details.

So now that I’ve watched Whitey’s on the Moon, Holy Ghost, and A History of Violence, I thought I should recap them now.

In “Whitey’s on the Moon,” the creepy white guy at the door of the huge mansion in the middle of nowhere is William (Jordan Patrick Smith) and he seems to treat Tic, Leti, and George very well. They all wake up in their rooms with objects of their most cherished desires. George is hip deep in books while Leti has a closet full of wonderful clothes all exactly her size, and they couldn’t be happier.

Tic, on the other hand, remains deeply disturbed by their encounter with monsters the previous night, and finally comparing notes with the other two, realizes that they didn’t remember a thing. Even their car Woody has been restored to them. All of this is due to magic spells, but I’ll get to that.

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Review of Lovecraft Country episode “Sundown”

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Scene from the Lovecraft Country episode “Sundown”

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When I decided to review the first season of the television series Lovecraft Country, I didn’t know if it would be a single review of the series, episode by episode, or something in between.

Then I watched the first episode Sundown and was truly horrified, but not as you might imagine.

If you haven’t seen it and you care about that sort of thing, there are tons of spoilers ahead.

The show tells the tale of a young black man named Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), a veteran of the Korean War who is traveling by bus to his home in Chicago because his father has gone missing.

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Lovecraft Country First Season

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© James Pyles

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This afternoon, I was at my local branch of the public library and I found the first season of Lovecraft Country on DVD. As some of you may know, I was critical of the timing of the premiere of this series during certain (ahem) events.

However, when I mentioned this in social media, I was told the series was being developed well before all of that happened, so I stand corrected. I also can’t miss the fact that since writer H.P. Lovecraft has been identified as a white supremacist, the title for the series has a double meaning.

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More Crimes, This Time By World Fantasy Con 2020

I came across this thanks to a tweet by Jon Del Arroz. Apparently Jane Dismantle White Supremacy tweeted a complaint to the World Fantasy Con 2020 about how incredibly offensive their panels were, or at least how offense their descriptions were. You can find the letter on Google Docs, but I took screenshots of all of the tweets responding to her to date and the entire letter in case she decides to delete them (that happens occasionally).

Here’s the letter.

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Lovecraft Country, Tarzan of the Apes, and What is and isn’t Racism?

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Promotional image for the HBO series “Lovecraft Country”

Every once in a while, I visit Mike Glyer’s File 770 SciFi fanzine. I used to follow them and get email updates of new posts, but either due to an accidental technical glitch or me being deliberately booted off for being an “undesirable,” those notices stopped.

Anyway, I was scrolling through Pixel Scroll 8/15/20 To Clickfinity And Beyond! and came across a link to HBO’s ‘Lovecraft Country’ Brings Viewers To A World Of Monsters, Magic and Racism.

I didn’t learn about famed horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s racism until this last round of Hugos when he was denounced along with a lot of other dead white men.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Lovecraft’s monsters and his racism have both been twisted into a show set in the 1950s which features both:

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Tolerance, Intolerance, and the World of the “Stale, Pale Male Crowd”

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Image of the cover of Orson Scott Card’s book “How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy”

On the heels of my blog posts Looks Like the 2020 Hugo Awards Once Again Sucked, Loving and Fearing SF/F Fandom, and the currently highly popular Is SciFi Author/Editor Robert Silverberg Really Racist and Sexist (or has the internet once again lost its mind)?, a library book I just finished and am about to return caught my attention.

Written by Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead) the small book How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy was my choice to re-read in the hopes of dragging myself out of my current writing slump.

Published in 2001, all of the advice about how to publish, market, and, of course, win awards (Card won two Hugos, a Nebula, a Lotus, and in 1978, the John W. Campbell [now renamed Astounding] Award for Best New Writer) are outdated and useless.

But his lessons on how to write remain pretty much timeless, especially when you are actually learning the craft rather than trying to promote a social position, attitude, or bias (I say that knowing that all stories contain the biases of their authors, but lately, it’s gotten so much more obvious and even blatant).

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Looks Like the 2020 Hugo Awards Once Again Sucked

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George R.R. Martin –
Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Well this explains it. The article George R.R. Martin Accused of Racism, Generally Sucking After Hosting Hugos (also found at Vulture) contains a link to my December 5, 2018 blog post Is SciFi Author/Editor Robert Silverberg Really Racist and Sexist (or has the internet once again lost its mind)?. It’s gotten hundreds of hits in the last day or so, and I couldn’t figure out why.

Interestingly enough, the article I found as a pingback to Updexnews.com used the phrase “racist history” as part of the link when referring to my Silverberg article, and I hadn’t intended to call Silverberg a racist (really, I’m shocked I haven’t gotten even a single piece of hate mail yet).

On this twitter account, I found the following image posted prominently. It was the first indication I had of yet another WorldCon social purging by the righteous (yes, I’m being snarky…I’ll explain below).

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Fiction’s and Real Life’s “Bad Guys” and Stereotyping

I’ve been thinking a lot about villains lately. Actually, this particular File 770 “Pixel Scroll” first brought the topic up in my mind. If you scroll down to item #4 “AUTUMN LEAVES” and to “Watchmen” just below that, you can read:

Oct. 20, 9 p.m., HBO
Confession: I know nothing about Watchmen. Never read the comic or saw the (polarizing) 2009 film. I had to pause many times while watching the pilot so I could look up characters and backstories on Wikipedia. With that said, I can’t wait to see more. Set 30 years after the comics, Watchmen takes place in a world where police hide their identities due to terrorist attacks and a long-dormant white supremacist group wants to start a race war. The show is expensive-looking but not hollow. There’s a humanity to the characters that is often lacking in comic book adaptations, due in large part to the exceptional cast, including Regina King, Jeremy Irons, and Don Johnson. Hardcore fans will have to make up their own minds, but this novice is intrigued. [emph. mine]

I know I wrote a blog post sometime ago about adult-oriented comic books and how they are now themed to emphasize social justice, but I can’t find it again. I do remember that, thanks to Donald Trump, most, if not all of the villains are straight white men, and specifically alt-right white supremacists.

No, I’m not defending racism, white supremacy, bigotry, or anything like that. My wife and children are Jewish, so I specifically take a dim view of antisemitism as well as other forms of prejudice and bigotry. Yes, some of my political views are unpopular to certain demographics but I don’t advocate for hate.

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The Sins of John W. Campbell Revisited

Author Jeannette Ng – image found at the Angry Robot website

Just for giggles, I revisited the comments at File 770‘s article Storm Over Campbell Award. As you may recall from my own wee missive Jeannette Ng’s Campbell Award Acceptance Speech and Here We Go Again, Ms Ng, a fantasy writer based in the UK, was recently given the John W. Campbell award for best new writer, which she accepted, and then went on to point out Campbell’s terrific flaws, which included being a fascist.

There are now over 200 comments on Mike Glyer’s commentary on Ng and Campbell, and of course, they all damn Campbell, some even comparing him (more or less) to Mussolini. Further, one person said that anyone with even the tiniest hint of actually liking anything Campbell ever did is considered a fascist sympathizer. Really. I had heard of Campbell, but before this, I never had any idea about his political beliefs.

However, even according to Wikipedia, while he may or may not have been a fascist, he certainly was a racist.

His opinions go far beyond the occasional “joke in bad taste,” and many well known authors, including Michael Moorcock and Isaac Asimov, lambasted Campbell for his even then unpopular and heinous ideas.

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